FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – A woman who survived a weekend shooting that left five people dead in western Arizona told a 911 dispatcher that she was shot in the neck and wasn't sure whether others around her were breathing.
Deborah Nyland, 44, was listed in good condition Tuesday at Sunrise Medical Center in Las Vegas, according to a hospital spokeswoman.
Nyland called 911 just before midnight Saturday to report a gunman had shot several people at a Lake Havasu City home. She tells a dispatcher that a brown-haired man wearing a blue T-shirt entered the home and started firing at people there with a handgun.
"Do you know where they're at?" the dispatcher asks.
"Yes, they're all on the floor," Nyland said.
"Are they breathing?" the dispatcher asks.
"I have no idea," Nyland says and pleads with the dispatcher to hurry and send help and "more than one ambulance." Of her own injury, she said that "it hurts bad," but she was working to suppress the bleeding.
Nyland identifies one of the people lying on the living room and dining room floors as her husband, Russell Nyland, and another as her daughter's boyfriend, Brock Kelson. Sobbing, she says, "I don't know where my daughter is. She was in the house also."
The shootings late Saturday occurred as 23-year-old Deborah Langstaff and friends were celebrating her boyfriend's birthday, authorities said. Brian Diez, 26, entered the home and fatally shot five people, including Langstaff — the mother of his two children — and her boyfriend, Primo Verdone. Nyland's husband, her daughter and Kelson also died.
Authorities said Diez fled with the children to California after the shooting, where he killed himself.
Detectives from the Lake Havasu City Police Department were in the Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., area Tuesday to pick up evidence and to talk with authorities and family members there, said police Sgt. Joe Harrold.
He said investigators want to gather as much information as possible about what led up to the shootings that neighbors neither saw nor heard.
"We are advocates for the victims," he said. "Even though the suspect is dead, we still have living family members that we are working on behalf of."
Meanwhile, a memorial has gone up at Havasu Regional Medical Center where Langstaff started as a nursing assistant about four years ago and most recently worked as a clinical nursing manager, said hospital spokeswoman Sheena Benson.
A framed picture of Langstaff, a memory book and flowers sit on a table draped with a green cloth (her favorite color).
"You look at the picture and you just see she was a ray of sunshine," she said. "She was really easy to get along with, easy to know and I think people responded to her very well."
The hospital staff plans to give the memory book to Langstaff's children — a 4-year-old and 13-month-old — who Benson referred to as "the apple of her eye.
"People want her children to have something to read as they get older on their mom, about how people really felt about her," she said.
Nyland told dispatchers that she didn't know who lived at the home where the shooting occurred, nor did she recognize Diez. Authorities said Nyland will be key in understanding the night's events.
The Nylands were well-known in Lake Havasu City for their cohesiveness and generosity, said Jim Salscheider, executive director of Lake Havasu Marine Association. He could only assume that Deborah and Russell Nyland were visiting their daughter at the home on Saturday and happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time.
He said the Nylands once owned a boat towing business and were active in the marine association, helping with cleanups of Lake Havasu and attending monthly meetings with their children.
"Everybody is kind of in shock," he said. "It was such an ugly incident that it's incomprehensible."